September 2018

While we can’t say that September has been a quiet month (we do believe in their
existence, they’re just something of a mythical beast to us), many of the team
managed to take some much-deserved holiday to recuperate from the last few
months of mania. We’ve still managed to get a lot done and, with the help of our new
farm manager – Bruce – who we were pleased to welcome all the way from South
Africa at the beginning of the month, there have been some exciting goings-on at the farm.
The changing colours of the landscape around the estate and the first hints of frost
have reminded us that outwintering is only just around the corner and that we must
start to mentally prepare! Thankfully most of our prep in the fields is just about
finished up now and, in spite of the dry summer, the beet crop is looking very promising.
But it may be our last year of outwintering as we know it! In the past few weeks we’ve
started the groundworks for a 1200-cow winter housing unit at the dairy, which will
provide luxury accommodation for our ladies from dry-off through to calving. We’ve
also started making some improvements to our calf-rearing facilities to streamline the
job and help give our little ones the best start possible when they begin to arrive in February.
Our now not-so-little ones seem well on their way to recovery from their bout of
pneumonia and we’re really pleased to be seeing some weights of well over 200kg.
They’ve been suspiciously well behaved over the past month and we’re starting to
wonder if they’re plotting something! Our cows have been superstars, continuing to
give us high-quality milk throughout the month. We picked out the ladies who were
taking their jobs a bit too seriously and were starting to lose condition, dropping them
down to once-a-day milking with a view to starting dry-off over the next month – the
next big job in our calendar!